After their best season in the Premier League, one which saw Javi Gracia lead the Hornets to their second FA Cup Final, the Golden Boys are looking to build upon that success. On July 1, Watford confirmed the signing of 29-year-old, Craig Dawson, who put pen to paper on a 4-year contract through the 2023 season.
Dawson reunites with former Baggies goalkeeper, Ben Foster, as the pair starred together from 2012 to 2018. “It’s going to be a new challenge, one I’m very excited to be here,” Dawson said.
The pair were formidable on defense for the Baggies keeping 34 clean sheets over four years together. Dawson made 225 appearance for the Baggies, scoring 15 goals, being a target on set pieces and corners. He comes into Watford and the FPL game priced at £5.0, which is probably £0.5 too expensive based on the prices of the other Hornets defenders.
He’s a decent acquisition and should be an upgrade to Adrian Mariappa and Christian Kabasele, as he partners with Craig Cathcart in the center of the Watford defense. While a younger, more agile defender, who’s good in the air would have been more beneficial, Watford hasn’t been known to splash big transfer fees to bring experienced players in.
The introduction of Dawson will allow Ben Wilmot to continue to develop and gain experience. The 19-year-old concluded his loan with Udinese at the end of the season, playing in 10 games. It’s yet to be seen if he will go back out on loan to another Pozzo owned club.
The addition of Dawson to Watford will help solidify a defense that struggled last year, especially the second half of the year and when the Hornets needed to be sharp, ahead of the FA Cup. Watford conceded 59 goals last year, including 10 in the final four games of the season. Let’s not forget the 6-0 thrashing at Wembley Stadium to Manchester City in the finals.
Since 2007 and Radcliffe, Dawson has studied top center backs in the game, “John Terry has been a great leader on the pitch and pops up with a few goals as well as always putting his body on the line to prevent goals as well. Also, the Rio Ferdinand of old, when he first signed for United.’’ He represented the England Under-21s and Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics.
Teammates speak highly of Dawson, Craig Bellamy said, “Craig’s definitely a character! But as soon as he steps on the training pitch, everything has got to be right. Training has got to be good. If it’s not, you’ll definitely hear from him.”
Craig Dawson seems to the correct piece to this Watford puzzle on defense. His past relationship at West Brom with Foster, now stepping into a role alongside Cathcart to improve a defense that was very average. “You had a great season here, so hopefully we can improve on that as a group and as a squad. Just looking through the squad today it’s an exciting squad and one which is a brilliant premier league team,” said Dawson in an interview with Foster.